Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Rogers Seems to Have Caved on iPhone Pricing

The hype of the iPhone has not yet died.  If you didn’t already know Rogers will be the main service provider for your iPhone (if you haven’t hacked one already).  Rogers’ pricing plan has been adjusted as of today and some of their stores will be open early for the drooling masses at 8am on launch day, July 11th.  If you are lucky you might get breakfast and a prize too (check Rogers Plus stores like the one on 112-10 Dundas Street East).

One small victory for consumers. YEAH! Sites like RUINED I PHONE . COM were hot on the backlash trail.  Their “petition” for this product (not officially released yet) has swollen to over 57,000 names and climbing.  Rogers were smart to act.

Not in any rush to grab a new cell phone or mp3 player but at least the plan is “more” in line with those found south of the border.  Apple does have good customer satisfaction. Perhaps their pressure along with consumer outrage turned the tide on Rogers.  I’ll be watching this hype machine from the sidelines for now. Good to see that the “little guy” can better afford their nearly $1,000 phone habit. Will this mean Crackberry’s get tossed? Check your TTC or GO platform in the coming weeks for details.

HDTV – The Beginning or the End of the Age of Television

Like the advent of the CD and DVD, HDTV promises to surpass the sound, resolution and clarity of its predecessor, traditional analog TV. Ah but quality is a matter of personal taste. The sorry state of most Pop music’s one hit wonders are recorded in pristine digital surround on hundreds of tracks vs. the Beatles catalogue recorded on tape (for the most part using 4 Tracks!). A case of SONGWRITING over studio auto-tuning, reverb and effects.

Day by day we creep closer to the rabbit ear doomsday. In 2011 , well August 31, 2011 to be exact, analog over-the-air broadcasts will be shut off and replaced by digital TV. Is the sky really falling that fast? Are the estimated three million Canadians that still rely on rabbit ears or other antenna for their TV signals doomed? The average Joe and Jane have more than 3 years of Survivor, American Gladiators and other quality educational programing to lust over in inferior analog bliss. What are they thinking?

Will the government subsidize set boxes or will the TV be shut off forever? Will free TV go the way of the the dodo? I think more of the later will be true. People are more prone to turn off than tune in. More and more people are programing their own entertainment. YouTube, the local video store, or personal content (home video/digital cameras are taking off these days even on cell phones!). Writers strikes and reality TV overload are making more and more people ditch the TV habit. Low budget straight to DVD movies are not exactly packing the theatres right? Sure there are those who spend more than $4,000 to sit on their butts and watch TV or spend $50 for a night at the movies but this is not the majority.

The bidding war is officially on as Toronto business big wig John Bitove has already proposed a plan to kick off a station. My guess is that it will be all for nothing (or nearly nothing).

TV becomes irrelevant more and more each day. Google was smart to gobble up YouTube. Yahoo would be a sweet take over for Microsoft as they would grab Flickr. The next wave of media appears to be self created media. Doesn’t fair well for TV. What? I can hear you over my radio…LoL

Songbird’s Swan Song

What!!! One of the best music stores in the city has filed for bankruptcy. Songbird Music had stripped itself down from a double store front to a single one last winter. Now in liquidation mode. Damn! Proof positive that the people who made Queen Street West “QUEEN STREET WEST” are getting gentrified.

I chatted with a former fixture of the Queen West area about his exodus last month. “Well it was really a matter of rents” (over $150,000 in two years). Um, I think that would give a reasonably successful store reason enough to revert to an online storefront and pack up and leave the street for good. The tone of the street is changing with this rent gouging. Sad but true but I can be sure Queen St W doesn’t need to be another Bloor W. With the “slick” shops and generic mall stores moving in who knows what will happen. The Horseshoe trudges on and hopefully will have something to cheer about Queen Street in the years to come.

Songbird Music R.I.P
The Toronto Song Bird appeared in October, 1988. It moved to a bigger store a few doors down Queen Street West in 1992.

Home Hunt 2

After my first day looking, my first condo visit, and my first big disappointment, I was exhausted. My memories of the CityPlace’s Superclub are still fresh. I can still see in my mind’s eye the indoor track, the basketball court, the two bowling lanes and even the massage room. I might have made up that last part. It was three floors of fitnessy goodness. Shame.

After that first unit, things get pretty hazy. All the units I saw mesh into a blur. A few units stand out. Like the one in the Esplanade.

Home Hunt

Looking for a home in Toronto is insane. Whether you’re looking for a house or a condominium, it’s pretty much all the same: deep demand.

I really haven’t had much time to write on the Metblog because I have been trying to find a home. This is the beginning of my story.


Today was the day of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’s (OCAP) Mass Panhandle on the PATH. The Police presence was massive and many tenants were warned that a “demonstration” was going to take place, part of it during the lunch hour.

In the end the demonstrators were pretty unobtrusive and were outnumbered at least 5 to 1 by police and security. The Mass Panhandle didn’t incite violence or seriously impede business any more than the usual people traffic on a Wednesday. A few individuals handed out pamphlets while others asked for change. In OCAP’s words the demonstration was an attempt to bring light to “Huge cuts to social programs and a desperate lack of affordable housing have fueled a crisis of homelessness in Toronto”.

Jo and Jane businesspeople may have been listening. There were as many coins offered as blank indifferent stares. Both the Police and OCAP were politely respectful of everyone. Hot heads on either side of this situation would have been a disaster for everyone (especially the MERCHANTS!!!).

Whether or not one believes in the “tactic” of doing something en masse like this, OCAP succeeded in their peaceful “information demonstration” today. Homelessness is a problem that has not faded away. Charging a homeless person $125 for sleeping on the street is hardly a solution to Toronto’s own homeless problem. With all the talk and fear of crime it would be better to focus our energy on its roots. Fighting poverty couldn’t hurt.

Indigo Drops Prices. Really? was handing out badly photocopied flyers to customers at the cash desk to answer our questions about Canadian book prices. This issue is in the news almost every day now. Torontonians are now becoming a mecca for Buffalo-area merchants, from what I see on the TV.

According to the news, Indigo was selling bestsellers at 30% off. Are journalists not book buyers? Only buy books on Amazon? Just wondering because since when is that price discount new? I’ve even seen Indigo offer bestsellers at 40% off. So this discount, contrary to breathless journalist prose, is not Indigo responding to people ticked off at high book prices in Canada.

I glanced at the flyer as the cashier was ringing up my books to see just what Indigo was doing about prices. And this is what they said.

Attention Toronto Travellers…You have been warned!


To The Highest Bidder

In yet another chapter in the selling of Toronto’s soul it appears that Sam’s will be auctioned off. With the Facebook hype surrounding THE SAM’S SIGN it will be interesting to see what nostalgia… ahem history is worth on the open market.

Whatever is paid up for the fixtures and substance behind the icon, it’s sure to be undervalued. To think that the Maple Leaf Gardens was looted in much the same way only to be a void waiting to be a grocery store… What will Sam’s become?

Toronto Loves the Ducks

The better part of the week involved going to various malls looking for a Ducks jersey. Learn why. There were scant few, all costing more than one hundred dollars.

Three malls later, still nothing. I did find socks with the old (think: “Mighty”) logo.

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